Cabbage Tree Island

To: <>
Subject: Cabbage Tree Island
From: "Gregory Little" <>
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 2009 10:41:00 +1100
Gooday birders
Had a few days recently, as a volunteer, helping a team of NPWS people
monitor the Goulds Petrel population on Cabbage Tree Island, also known
as John Goulds Nature Reserve, off Port Stephens, NSW. CTI is a small
uninhabited island, about 1km off the mainland, in almost pristine
condition covered in littoral rainforest and is the only known breeding
location for the Goulds Petrel (race leucoptera). This island is
classified as critical habitat and public access is not permitted to
protect the Gould's Petrel as the ground nests are easily damaged. Along
with the Petrel about 100 bird species have been recorded on the island,
according to the draft Plan of Management. We recorded over 20 bird
species, including a pair of Peregrine Falcons. However, the reason for
this posting, is to simply comment on the interesting and noticeable
lack of smaller bird species on the island. During four days we did not
see or hear small ground species such as pigeons, doves, pitta,
logrunner, scrubwren, wren, finch or robin, nor other small birds of
shrubs and canopy such as thornbills, whistlers, parrots, fantails,
pardalotes etc. While there are heaps of fruiting trees on the island,
such as fig trees, we did not see or hear Figbirds, Fruit-doves or
Bowerbirds etc. Several larger honeyeater species were recorded
including Little and Red Wattlebirds, Blue-faced Honeyeater and Noisy
Miner but only one small honeyeater, the Yellow-faced Honeyeater, was
heard once during the four days. Flocks of Silvereyes were the only
small birds heard regularly during the stay. The ground on the west
flank of the island is essentially a moderate to steep scree slope, of
loose boulders and no flat soil areas, and the east flank is cliffs,
plus there is no fresh water on the island (except immediately after
rain). Presumably the lack of smaller birds is due to island
biogeographic affects plus the lack of standing fresh water. Maybe the
presence of Peregrines also discourages some birds flying from the
mainland over the 1km of open water.
Greg Little
Greg Little - Principal Consultant
General Flora and Fauna
PO Box 526
Wallsend, NSW, 2287, Australia
Ph    02 49 556609
Fx    02 49 556671 <> 

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